Real Tears! The ‘Insecure’ finale had us in actual, actual tears

OPINION: The series finale was the culmination of an iconic moment in Black television that we could all experience in real-time.

Insecure series finale
(Courtesy of HBO)

In five seasons of Insecure, this was the first time that I’ve ever cried during an episode, and for the life of me, I cannot pinpoint exactly why. Maybe it was the sadness of it all ending. Or maybe time traveling through each character’s story in one episode was lowkey-highkey emotional overload. Or maybe it was the fact that we got 40 whole minutes to savor this ending, so my feelings actually had breathing room to come out and stay for a bit. (Whoever did that, thank you.)

I honestly don’t know why I was so emotional. All I know is that I was perfectly fine until Molly’s wedding. Then the tears came in epic fashion. The pictures of her mother. The father-daughter dance. Issa having a moment where she realized that her best friend was embarking on a new journey. Lawrence noticing that Issa was having that moment and pulling her to the dancefloor. All of it just took me somewhere that felt so nostalgic and sweet. (And on top of that, the Isley Brothers’ song came through with perfect timing for the win.) By the time Issa and Molly cried in the dressing room after the wedding, I was done. I basically cried until the credits rolled. 

This series finale was an emotional culmination of an iconic moment in Black television that we could all experience in real-time. Insecure marked the dawning of a new era in Hollywood where young Black creators could tell young Black stories from the ground up but with big Hollywood budgets—where the genius of Black creativity and hard work could catapult someone from a web series to the national stage. 

More than five years ago, Issa Rae came onto the scene with all her awkward bravado, and she shook things up. She stood firmly in her truth and allowed others to either get with it or move out of the way. 

Insecure represented a moment where unapologetic Blackness stepped boldly onto the screen in its raw, unfiltered form for the world to see. It was a moment where the richness of Black girl friendships was on display, where the world could see the safe havens of love and joy that these friendships are for us. 

Where Black women in our 30s were captured accurately in that we-young-but-grown-and-still-figuring-sh*t-out fashion because Black women in their 30s who were young, but grown, and still figuring sh*t out were behind the camera. Where the platonic love story between friends could be the main love story that anchored the show. Where stereotypes about Black women weren’t bouncing off the walls, hitting us in our faces. 

But most of all, this show captured life in all its confusing, complicated, unfair, joyful, and exciting moments. And maybe that’s what was so emotional about this episode. It was just life—with its ups and downs—all sprinkled in there together. 

Life. Where the happiness of newlywed bliss can coexist with the sadness of losing your mother. Where you can truly love a woman (Nathan) but recognize that you deserve stable love that chooses you back, so you walk away. Where your commitment to your marriage and family can uproot you into a new city that you don’t like, yet you find ways to cope. Where you decide that a baby without marriage works for you and move forward. Where loving a man may also mean loving him and his child—and realizing that that’s okay. 

Life is not a romantic comedy, and Insecure did a great job of bringing the reality and the ups and downs of life into the characters’ storylines. We related to the characters so much because they were so authentic. They were us, our friends, our relationships, situationships and more. It was our culture reflected back to us. And we will forever love it. 

We tweeted, picked sides, rooted for (and against) characters because we loved them. And no matter what we said about what we wanted the ending to look like or who we wanted to see Issa end up with when it was all said and done, we were just glad we were along for the ride. 


The #TeamLawrence in me cannot miss this opportunity to gloat. To say I told you so! To say that it doesn’t have to be the choice you’d make because it’s not you. (Sometimes, we have more exacting standards for others than we ever practice ourselves in our real lives.) And I think if the finale had one message that it was trying to deliver, that message was “Do you, boo!” 

At the end of the day, you are the only one who has to live your life and walk in your shoes. So, choose your own joy. Walk in the direction you want to go and get out of your own way. Choose what happiness looks like for you. 

Black Twitter will never agree about who was right for Issa, but the point of this ending is that what we think doesn’t matter. As Tiffany said: “Sometimes it’s not about making the smart choice. It just has to make sense to you. And it doesn’t have to be the smart choice to be the right choice.” 

I think Issa made the right choice. (And that’s the #TeamIssa in me speaking.) We don’t have to understand it. 

But I think we all can agree on one thing. This show was Black girl brilliance at its finest. Issa made us proud. And we will forever give this show the props it deserved. It was the A Different World of our generation. Thanks for five amazing seasons! 

Kamaria Fayola,

Kamaria is an attorney, poet, writer, and lover of all things created #ForTheCulture. She runs a blog, ‘Words of My Mother,’ has lived all over the DMV (heavy on the V), and enjoys skating, debating, and car karaoke. (Because, why not?!) She can be reached on Twitter at @like_tha_moon.

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